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Skymessenger
A friend and I travel nine hours checking out campgrounds in the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee area.We were planning on taking our summer vacation together this coming June. I got on RV Park Review and read the comments on each campgrounds in the area. Yet, we thought it might be best to take a couple of days and go personally and check the campgrounds out. For we did not want to make a reservation and get there and not be happy with it.

With the fees of the campground, the rising cost of gas, (pulling travel trailers), actitivites while there, food, we both look at each other and admit we just couldn't afford it. Just the campground itself was between $400.00 and $500.00 for a week. Several of them charge you for extral people, extral cars, etc. An average family who is on a low income can not afford to take a vacation with their camper in an area such as this.

Many of the sites we saw were very close to the other sites. For an example if you were sitting on your picnic table, you were right on your neighbor's sewer drain. When you open your slideout you were right on top of your neighbor's awning. It seems the campground are trying to get as many sites they can on their property.

I know campground is a business and they have to make a living. Yet, why is it they charge for everything under the stars? We enjoy camping but the encomeny is keeping US from going far away from home. One day, we be able to travel to these wonderful places.

Tom
Private campgrounds are businesses, they have to make money to keep operating. I don't know the area that you are talking about, but assuming it is a big "destination" area, campgrounds near it will be expensive. Did you look at campgrounds 20-30 minutes away? The price drop can be substantial.

Also, are you planning on spending time at the campground, or touring the surrounding area? When our kids were younger, we looked for "resort" type campgrounds with all the amenities and we many times never left the campground. And we paid extra for it. Now, with teenagers, I am looking at campgrounds as just a base to explore from. Give me a flat spot, hookups (if more than a night or two), and a moderately safe area and I am happy.

Our cost of camping has been dropping the last few years because we are getting away from resort campgrounds.

Another thing to consider is that by charging fees for activities, only the people doing (using) the activities are paying for them. If you don't want to use the facilities, you don't have to pay for them. So instead of charging $50 a night and adding $5 and $10 extra for everything else, a campground could just charge $110 a night and advertise it as "all inclusive".

Last year my son and I went camping for Father's Day weekend. We stayed two nights at a State park "rustic" (no hookup) campground, and toured the area at no cost. Cost me $28 for the whole weekend. A hotel room would easily have been triple or quadruple that, and cost more for food.

Keeping looking, and keep your options open. And keep on camping!
nedmtnman
We workamped at this campground several years ago and it is East of Gatlinburg but close to Pigeon Forge going the back way.


http://www.arrowcreekcamp.com/
Traveling man
QUOTE(Skymessenger @ Jan 23 2011, 09:09 AM) *

A friend and I travel nine hours checking out campgrounds in the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee area.We were planning on taking our summer vacation together this coming June. I got on RV Park Review and read the comments on each campgrounds in the area. Yet, we thought it might be best to take a couple of days and go personally and check the campgrounds out. For we did not want to make a reservation and get there and not be happy with it.

With the fees of the campground, the rising cost of gas, (pulling travel trailers), actitivites while there, food, we both look at each other and admit we just couldn't afford it. Just the campground itself was between $400.00 and $500.00 for a week. Several of them charge you for extral people, extral cars, etc. An average family who is on a low income can not afford to take a vacation with their camper in an area such as this.

Many of the sites we saw were very close to the other sites. For an example if you were sitting on your picnic table, you were right on your neighbor's sewer drain. When you open your slideout you were right on top of your neighbor's awning. It seems the campground are trying to get as many sites they can on their property.

I know campground is a business and they have to make a living. Yet, why is it they charge for everything under the stars? We enjoy camping but the encomeny is keeping US from going far away from home. One day, we be able to travel to these wonderful places.

Traveling man
That is expensive, but I encourage you to continue to enjoy camping- just beware of those areas that might charge highest rates. As long as sites are in demand, and they can get it, they will do so.

If you get a chance, enjoy the western states, where there are lots of cheap, and even free forest service campgrounds with lots of space. I've found lots of great rates traveling around the country. It just depends on the area. For example the park I am in currently in Texas is $200/month, and has swimming pool etc. In Branson area I paid $45/week (passport america) for full hookup at a park. If you are set on one destination, it becomes harder, but look around for other options on a return trip.

Don't rule out primitive camping if you enjoy the outdoors. I was in Yellowstone during the busy summer season and the main campground looked like a small city. I found a beautiful camp site (camp site not campground) two miles outside of the park in the national forest. It was free, had a breathtaking view, and no other campers.

I'm not familiar with the area you were camping in, so cannot offer advise- but perhaps someone else on the forum has some options. I've found that if real estate (home prices etc) are expensive in an area, everything else tends to follow, such as campgrounds, haircuts, auto repairs etc. as operators have higher fixed costs.
Florida Native
A great way to cut your camp ground costs in half is to stay at free places (like Wal-Mart) half the time. We also stay a lot at PA or Camp Club of America quite a bit. With a little inovation and planning you can really cut back on costs. State parks are nice also. Power, water, and sewer management can really extend your stay. We are big believers in exploring the areas and spend very little time in he campground itself. We have a 4 wheel drive midsized pickup for a toad an it really opens up the exploring. We also take a lot of photos and have over 10,000 photos on our website that provide many hours of enjoyment when we return. Going expensive and first class, may be a little easier but isn't much more fun. If you are 15 minutes away from an attraction, the drive in and out can be great family fun and provide great local scenery and give you a much more balanced feel of the area than the plastic and neon of the attraction.
kcmoedoe
If the RV parks are too expensive how did you plan on paying for the shows, Dollywood Park, the pay to see attractions in Gatlinburg, the amusement parks, the go kart tracks, the giant mini golf complexes etc. All of them charge extra for kids. $50.00 a night in that area is not out of line. It is a true resort area and priced accordingly. If your goal is to visit Smoky Mountains National Park, there are many other access areas that are much, much less expensive.
dalsgal
While that price is high you can also look at it that you can do your own cooking and save the eating out price. How much would it cost for you to rent a hotel room and eat all meals out? Wouldn't it be better to sleep in your own bed with some privacy rather than a bed that untold number of strangers have been in? Overall, while not cheap, it would be less money than staying elsewhere. Would you be going to all the attractions every single day? Why not stay close by for a night or two and then move to a different campground where you can do other, less expensive family things?
joez
We stay near and visit the Smokey Mountain area every summer, and I guarantee that we do not spend $400/week to park our motorhome-we can stay almost two months for that. You pick the most touristy area, with the most visitors, and then complain because the prices are too high and the sites are too small. If you want larger sites stay in a state park or at one of the campgrounds in the Smokey Mountain National Park. If you want lower cost campgrounds within day trip distance from Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge there are a ton of commercial campgrounds in the area. Sometimes you just have to be realistic.
RLM
If the drive was 9 hours one way then that's at least 500 miles. Would there not be some other places that could be visited cheaper in a 500 miles circle? There are some great places in the US that aren't tourist destinations.
Skymessenger
Thanks for the comments and suggestions concerning this matter. Let me give you some background information.

We do not stay at Walmart, Pilot, Flying J, etc place that is free due to the fact the family whose coming with us need electric because they sleep with a "Sleep Pap". We enjoy camping with this family.

We chose Pigeon Forge's area because it's a great Tourist Destination with many activities. There are cheaper campground several miles away but because of the road construction it would be hard to go back and forth to all the tourist places in Pigeon Forge and Gatinburg area. We were told by people who live in the area to avoid these construction's area because it will give you a major headache. We were planing on have our meals at the campground and enjoy all their amenities, pool and playground and etc.

I do not mean to be negative about this matter or complaining, it's just too expensive for us. There are Tourist area closer home and we will be taken advantage of them. We just thought we would great to go to a different place to see different things this year.

We could have gotten a cabin or a motel room and make it work.... But we love camping and would love to take our camper and enjoy the parks there. One day when the economy is better and get our children out of college, we going! smile.gif

Happy Camping!
stevesgirl
If you decide to look again in that area try Smoky Bear Campground (smokybearcampground.com). We stayed there last fall. Part of the reason we picked it was because it was cheaper than many of the others I had checked out. It's not right in Gatilnburg or Pigeon Forge, but it was no problem getting into Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Dollywood from there. It is a VERY clean campground, our site was not crowded, and the owners/workers are very friendly.
John Blue
Skymessenger,

I know you have kids but look at the COE parks in Alabama. I see a count of 22 parks that have power and water and other COE parks are free if you do not use power or water. If you have a Golden Age Card price is 50% off. We see kids in COE parks all the time. All COE parks are super nice, large sites, lots of space from site to site, and most are on waterways. It is not Pigeon Forge's but one trip to this place stop me from a return. It was like a campground in Time Square NY. AL also has a number of nice State Parks as well with power and water. This will keep the cost down.
pianotuna
Hi,

Try this link and see if you can find something suitable:

http://freecampsites.net/
HappiestCamper
This one is 57 minutes from Pigeon Forge - Panther Creek State Park - $20 a night. Unfortunately, no reservations - first come first serve.
Skymessenger

Again thanks for the suggestions from everyone. We decided to stay close to the house and enjoy the Campgrounds in Alabama and Florida for the time being. John, we got only one child and she is twenty years old. The family we love to camp with has one grandson (age 3). We just love family activities when we camping.

We will look at all the suggestions and perhaps one day go and check them out. Thanks for the comments and hope everyone have a chance to go camping soon.....
jschrubba
We have stayed in the area many times both in a pop up and now in a 31' motorhome. I agree that fees have gotten higher and factoring in gas it is nearly impossible. We have found a few campgrounds that we feel are worth it. One of them being "Smoky Bear Campground" It is NOT in Pigeon Forge it is on the outskirts of Gatlinburg but it is quiet and lovely and AFFORDABLE. It is a GOOD SAM park.
The other is in Pigeon Forge and that is the "Foothills Campground". It is a little hard to find tucked in behind another campground, but you can walk to everything or better yet take the trolley. There is sooo much to do in this Tennessee area and not all of it costs $$$! I admit we go to relax and get away but it is nice to have activities and attractios within a reasonable distance.
I think you will be happy choosing either of these two places.
GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY CAMPING biggrin.gif

jschrubba

Keep in mind that many of the Camping Worlds allow overnight camping and they HAVE ELECTRIC! We have used them several times and it has been a saver all the way around!

Again GOOD LUCK
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